Mike Wallace Interview of Margaret Sanger

Available as streaming Flash video at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin: Interviewed on 9/21/57

1 comment:

Family Man said...

What a fascinating interview, and quite revealing.

Mrs. Sanger denied that sexual relations have any necessary connection to procreation. Later on she also denied that homosexuality is a perversion. The two denials have an obvious connection to one another: once sexual relations are divorced entirely from procreation, then we lose the most obvious reason why heterosexual relations should be preferred over homosexual relations.

Mr. Wallace asked who she thought God was. Mrs. Sanger replied: “I feel that we have divinity within us.” (Somehow she also equated this to being Episcopalian, but it sounds more like Transcendentalism to me.)

Mr. Wallace asked whether she believed such a thing as sin exists. She replied: “I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world,” and then added some qualifiers, explaining that she had in mind children whose parents might pass on a disease to them, or children who would likely turn to crime.

When Mr. Wallace asked whether she thought marital infidelity was a sin, she replied, “I don’t know about infidelity. That has many personalities to it.” When he asked whether murder was a sin, Mrs. Sanger admitted only that it was “a terrible act” but couldn’t decide “whether it’s a sin or not.” (Though not explored in this interview, Sanger also campaigned strongly for abortion access, and founded Planned Parenthood.)

Clearly the founder of the modern birth control movement starts with premises and ends with conclusions to which Christians ought to object. Mike Wallace repeatedly emphasized the tension between her philosophy and that of Christianity. For Christians, then, the million dollar question is whether they somehow can accept birth control without carrying along the pagan baggage of Sanger’s worldview. (Hm. I wonder how she would have answered that question had Mr. Wallace asked it.)